Saturday, May 05, 2007

My New Bicycle

This morning I finally bought something to help me with the cardio part of my exercise regimen ... a bike! And a mountain bike at that. Y'know, looking back over the last couple of months, I would have to give a theme to each. January-March was a lot of fitness and muscle gain, April was getting over-sexed (well, not over sexed), May is for shedding the last bit of belly fat and showing my six-packs in June, which will start out as a party month when I head to Orlando for Gay Days at Disney! Here is our t-shirts (I'm making a special 2nd one for me, a sleeveless muscle shirt ... I'm becoming such a slut!)

But back to the bike for now. I've been thinking about a bicycle for several months now. I have an old 10-speed road bike in the shed that someone gave me many years ago, but when I pulled it out and cleaned it up I found that it was too far gone to be useful. It wasn't even able to properly change gears.

Then last weekend at the picnic I got to talking with one of the guys who rode a bit. He kept trying to steer me to a mountain bike, but I was almost positive I wanted a hybrid, especially since most of the time it would be ridden on the road. I would occasionally take it off-road on some paths, but that wouldn't be it's primary use.

Then Friday for lunch I finally went to a bike shop and looked around. The owner was there and helped out quite a bit, explaining the pro's and con's of bike types, sizes, features, etc. But since I was in work clothes I couldn't take any for test rides.

But that is what I did this morning, and I settled on the Trek 4300 model. It is just slightly above an entry level bicycle, although it is far better than anything that can be found at the big stores such as Target. Along with the helmet and water bottle rack, I spent just over $450. I really think it was worth it.

The next stop after that was to, of all places, Target. There I picked up a heart rate monitor. This particular model has the sensor that straps to the chest and sends the information to a wristwatch type receiver.

This is cardio after all, and the idea is to get the heart pumping at a higher rate. So that is exactly what I wanted to do, exercise the heart. According to this page at the American Heart Association, I should be aiming for a heartbeat range of 88-149.

So I strap on the monitor, fill up the water bottle and hop on the bike. I head down the driveway, hang a right onto the road and just keep going until it ends. Round trip, 7.4 miles in just under an hour. I wasn't trying for speed so much as continuous steady pedaling. (For those who want a good pedometer distance map tool, I really like gmap-pedometer)

The countryside was awesome! I never go very far in that direction, and a lot of this was new country to me. It was cool cruising through and seeing all the different types of homes, and even what appears to be a huge new neighborhood complete with a newly built elementary school. (Luckily the school is miles from the my home ... no snotty noses near me, thank you very much!) People out tending yards, a cookout, there are even some horse farms.

During the ride I had originally targeted a heart rate of 130, going by AHA saying that 75% of maximum is a good goal. But the only time I ever came close to 130 was when I rested for short periods while coasting. Most of the time I was at 145-150. I really don't know if that is good or bad, but I was never out of breath. Well, I did get out of breath trying to climb a dirt hill at a construction site, but that shot the heartrate to over 165 for just a minute.

So now I have a bike, and I'm surrounded by miles of country roads to explore. And with all of my hiking I recently purchased a book on local trails: Adventure Guide to the Triangle. It contains a lot of bike trails in the area, plus road bike trails. Maybe I'll join the Out Spokin' NC folks one of these Sundays!

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